How to mill tongue and groove joints in end and edge

How to make tongue and groove joints

In the previous post we saw how to do the guide for milling tongue and groove joints with the column milling machine. On that occasion I milled boards of two different lengths. And I used a groove cutter to mill the grooves and a straight cutter to mill the tabs. As I said then, that was a test. And since it turned out quite well, now I am going to use the guide to make tongue and groove wood with boards of the same length. And to mill both the grooves and the tabs, I'm going to use just the grooving router bit with bearing.

Homemade guide for milling tongue and groove joints in wood

Guide template for making tongue and groove wood

So I'm going to use the same guide that I did to make tongue and groove joints, which I already mentioned earlier. And since the tables (1 and 2) are the same as the ones I had used, only this time they are all the same length, the only thing I have to modify in that guide is the position of the stop D.

Wood Tongue Grooving: How to Milling Grooves

Adjust the grooving cutter on the edge

To mill the grooves I begin by centering, more or less, the router bit with bearing on the edge of one of the boards. Although the slot I would make like this is very narrow, so I really want to adjust it so that it is a little off-center.


Milling a groove on the edge and on the nose

And so I am going to mill, resting the bearing against the wood, making sure to start at stop C and finish at stop B. That way I make sure that the groove will be perfectly straight all along the edge of a board and the head of the other table. It will be a bit off-center though.

How to flip the boards and re-mill

Now what I have to do is flip the boards to re-mill the same slot. In this way, when milling the same edge and the same end, but with the other side of the boards upwards, I get a perfectly centered groove and somewhat thicker than the one this strawberry makes in a single pass.

Swap the position of the boards in the guide template

And since I want to have a groove in one edge and one end of both tables, I just have to exchange the tables and repeat the process again. And I do the same with all the tables I have.

The bearing fits just against the wood

I just have to be careful to see that the bearing rests enough against the wood, since after turning the boards the bearing may coincide with the groove or rest very just on the edge. In this case, the lateral guide of the milling machine should be installed. To avoid this it would be better to do some tests before starting.

Groove in the edge and the head of the boards

This way I get a groove perfectly centered on one edge and one end of the boards where I want to mill the groove.

Tongue and groove: How to mill the tabs

Adjust half the depth to be milled

On this occasion, as I said before, to mill the reeds I am going to use the same grooving cutter with bearing. This way I avoid having to adjust the side guide of the router. The problem is that the depth, vertically, that this cutter cuts is very little, so I will have to mill each side of the reed in two passes. Then I am going to adjust the cutter to cut half the necessary depth, and I am going to mill the edge and end that I left before without a groove in all the boards. The procedure is the same as I used to mill the grooves: I mill, flip the boards, re-mill, swap them, and repeat. And so on for all the tables I have.

Install the router side guide

But as always, there is a small problem to keep in mind. And it is that in a corner of the edge of one of the tables and the head of the other table we have the beginning of the grooves that we already mill in those tables, and the bearing can sneak into those holes, which would damage the milling .

So what I do is mill in the middle of the table until the bearing stops. And with the bearing glued to the wood I place the lateral guide of the milling machine. I make sure that both the bearing and the side guide are glued to the edge of the table and I lock the side guide.

So I can mill the first pass of the tabs of all the boards following the same procedure that I followed for the grooves. As we just saw, in the end I need to install the side guide, but this time it is very easy to adjust.

Tongue before milling the second pass

Now, since the tabs were very thick, I have to adjust the milling cutter to finish milling in a second pass.

Fit the edge of the cutter to the edge of the slot

I have to adjust the edge of the cutter almost to the bottom of the grooves. I mill a corner of one of the boards on both sides of the tongue and check how well this wood tongue and groove joint fits. And I keep adjusting the milling depth and testing until I'm happy with how the joint looks. And when I am satisfied I finish milling all the reeds following the same procedure as always.

Tongue and groove joint in edge and testa

With this technique I manage to mill grooves and tabs all around all the boards, so that they fit perfectly between them. And although it is necessary to make a milling template for each size of board that we are going to use, this template is very easy to do, and allows us to make wooden tongue and groove for any project in which we need it, such as a wooden floor. .


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